June 29, 2018 / 9:28 PM / 3 months ago

Gambia's Barrow reshuffles cabinet, appoints Darboe as Vice President

BANJUL (Reuters) - Gambian President Adama Barrow reshuffled his government on Friday, moving the leader of his ruling party from the foreign ministry to the position of Vice President, according to a statement.

Gambian President Adama Barrow addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Gambia has seen a spate of protests in recent days as the country struggles to reduce debt and drive out corruption since Barrow defeated long-term incumbent Yahya Jammeh in a presidential election in December 2016.

New vice president Ousainu Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party, swapped jobs with Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, who was appointed foreign minister.

A spokeswoman for the president said Barrow did not give reasons for the reshuffle which saw about a dozen ministers change jobs and a couple dismissed.

Since taking office over a year ago, Barrow’s government has faced headwinds after inheriting a country with empty coffers and heavy debts. The debt stock of the tiny west African nation was at around 130 percent of gross domestic product at the end of last year.

The reshuffle comes a few days after Gambia’s head of police resigned following the death of three protesters during clashes with the police on June 18.

Separately, human rights activists and artists took to the streets on June 24 under an umbrella organisation called “Enough is Enough” to protest what they said was a culture of increasing corruption and impunity in the country.

Reporting by Pap Saine; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Toby Chopra

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